Thrilling documentaries, long-awaited superhero movies and more in our top cinema picks for December
Film of the month: Three Identical Strangers
Life gets stranger than fiction in this seemingly feel-good documentary. The story begins in 1980, when 19-year-old Bobby starts his first day at college. To his surprise, everyone’s unusually friendly to him: guys come up and hug him and girls kiss him on the lips, saying, “Welcome back, Eddy!” Only thing is, who’s Eddy? It’s not until someone asks Bobby if he was adopted, that things start getting clearer: Bobby, it turns out, has an identical twin, Eddy—a student who, by a freakish coincidence, dropped out the previous year. But things just get weirder from there. With the help of media and A remarkable documentary about triplets who were separated at birth, that unfolds like a suspenseful thriller word of mouth, the twins soon discover their third brother, David, and learn that they were separated at birth.
The trio become a media sensation, appearing on every talk show, opening a restaurant and even making a cameo in a Madonna music video—they’re on top of the world. But their adoptive parents are not as thrilled. Outraged at the adoption agency hiding the truth from them, they demand answers. What comes next is an Inception-worthy twist that casts a dark shadow over this otherwise fortuitous tale. Transforming into a tantalising mystery, the film poses some thought-provoking questions about “nature vs nurture” and how much free will we have over shaping our own lives. This is how you make a documentary.
Sorry to Bother You
A fresh, irreverent comedy about Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield)—a young telemarketer whose work success propels him into a twisted world of corruption, greed and vicious capitalism. Watching Sorry to Bother You is what watching the first Tarantino film back in the early 1990s must have felt like; it’s staggeringly innovative, highly stylised and bursting with ideas to the point where it finds it hard to reign them all in, resulting in a sometimes haphazard framework.
Nevertheless, it’s a complete must-see for its phenomenal performances, a bizarre allegory about race and a display of some seriously cool earrings by Cassius’ girlfriend, played with great verve by Tessa Thompson.
The Old Man and the Gun
According to Tucker, the secret to a good life is to “find one thing you love doing, and do it as long as you can.”For him, that’s robbing banks. Now 76, he’s made a career of pulling off outrageous heists and audacious prison breaks—and he’s not about to stop.
This natural-born charmer who robs with gentlemanly grace and a smile on his face is portrayed by screen legend Robert Redford in his final role before announcing retirement. He’s joined by a stellar cast including Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck and Tom Waits (!), in this ebullient and surprisingly quaint comedy drama.
White Boy Rick
“It’s fragile this thing, family.” So says Detroit dad Rick Snr (Matthew McConaughey), as he struggles to cope with his drug-addict daughter and drug-dealing son (who, at 14, also happens to be the FBI’s youngest ever informant). Though overambitious, the film is at its strongest when it studies family, and the quiet devastation of loving an addict. Watch out for a show-stealing performance from Brit, Bel Powley.
Sure—it may be one of the stupidest superhero movies to date (sorry, Suicide Squad), but just like scrolling through Instagram, watching reality TV shows or eating Nutella from a jar—it doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable.
After appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa) now gets his own feature-length origin story. In it, he must confront his half-brother Orm, who wants to wage a war against humanity for destroying the underwater ecosystem (an admittedly lofty and interesting message that’s explored here with the depth of a Miss Universe speech).
Though Momoa lacks the material to imbue his character with meaning and substance, he nevertheless manages to deliver his performance as the hunky muscle-machine who communicates almost entirely through tacky punchlines, with a modicum of grace and charisma.